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Adams County Health Center Selected for Demonstration

The Adams County Record of Council, Idaho

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Our local health center was chosen as one of only 500 health centers across the U.S. to take part in a program to improve care for people with Medicare, as well as other patients. Denise Groves,

Executive Director of the Adams County Health Center, said she feels honored to be among those selected as qualified and worthy, from a relatively small number of health centers on a national level.

The program, called the Advanced Primary Care Practice demonstration, is the direct result of the Affordable Care Act.

"Health centers are integral parts of our communities," said Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Donald M. Berwick, M.D. "This initiative will give participating health centers the help they need to improve care for many people with Medicare who rely on them as their main source of care."

Under this Advanced Primary Care Practice demonstration, created by the Affordable Care Act, Medicare will pay community health centers based on the quality of care they deliver. This improved payment system will reward clinics for such things as helping patients manage chronic conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure.

Much of the program is aimed at preventing higher health care costs through prevention. "The goal of this demonstration is to help patients get the care they need in a primary care setting rather than in an emergency department," said Dr. Berwick. "When patients are able to use a health center as their primary source of care, it helps primary care doctors, nurses and specialists coordinate their care. Health centers will also use health care dollars more wisely as patients receive the right tests, right medications and right treatments in the right setting."

Director Groves says the program has not been in effect long enough to report results; it only started about two months ago. The demonstration will be conducted from November 1, 2011 through October 31, 2014. Participating health centers will be paid a monthly fee for each eligible person with Medicare who receives primary care services. The CMS Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (Innovation Center) and the Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA) will provide technical assistance to help participating community health centers throughout the demonstration.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, this Advanced Primary Care Practice demonstration is one of a number of initiatives made possible by the Affordable Care Act to help bring better health and better health care not just to Medicare beneficiaries, but to all Americans, while helping use healthcare dollars more wisely.

The Record expects to report on the results of this program over the three years of its implementation. So "stay tuned."

Copyright 2012 The Adams County Record, Council, Idaho. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.

Original Publication Date: January 4, 2012

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